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iPad Review: Should You Buy It?

By Erik Folgate

free apple ipadAfter a ton of hype, Apple’s iPad came out two Saturdays ago, and ever since then there have been thousands of articles written about it and the analysis has been all over the place. Some people are having a hard time figuring out who it’s right for and who it’s not. Some of you are just wondering why there’s so much hype surrounding it in the first place. The reason is because it is being tabbed a tablet computing device, but it’s much different than tablets from the past. It has no traditional keyboard, it uses a mobile operating system, you can interact with it like no other computing device, and it is razor thin. I’ve been reading a lot about the iPad, and I’ve made some opinions about who it works for, so here is my list of who it might be work for and who it will not.

Who It’s Right For

1. The Casual Computer User. If you’ve only used a computer for checking email, surfing the internet, watching TV shows, and manipulating your digital photos, then the iPad could be a great option for you, and since the base model starts at $499, it’s a great price for someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on gadgets. It’s also a great replacement for a portable DVD player. The only issue you’re going to run into is when you want to type a lengthy document that requires a good deal of formatting. If you type the proper way, it’s very tough to type that way. You’re limited mostly to touch typing.

2. Traveling Business People. The iPad price and specs aren’t too shabby. I think the iPad could really be an asset for people that are constantly on the road visiting clients and showing them short presentations and demonstrations. Imagine sitting at a table with a client and placing the iPad flat on the table. You can sift through presentation slides together and even watch a demonstration video without the feeling of huddling up next to a laptop. Plus, the iPad is so thin and light, that a business traveler could easily fit it into a small briefcase. Plus, for those of you who own an iPhone, imagine some of the produtivity and business applications that would be SO much better with a larger screen.

3. Computer Users Wanting to Convert To a Mac. Ever since I got an iPhone, a year and a half ago, I have always said that the iPhone is the gateway drug for Windows PC users to convert over to being a Mac computer user. A year and a half later, I now own a 21.5″ iMac and a 13″ Macbook Pro. I’m proof that the iPhone is a Mac gateway drug, and I think the iPad is going to serve as a gateway as well. A lot of people who have used Windows their whole life are scared to jump straight to the Mac OS. Buying an iPad might be a good way to ease into what it’s like to have an Apple product without the full-blown experience of an iMac or Macbook.

Who It’s Not Right For

1. Students. I know that a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this one, but I really don’t think this is the right device for students. Assuming you’re going to be involved in a rigorous academic career in college, you’ll be writing very long papers, preparing complex presentations, and taking a lot of notes while in class. The iPad is not right for taking on these types of tasks. I demonstrated it the other day at the Apple store, and I really couldn’t see myself typing something longer than an email or short blog post. I am sure there will be some cool note-taking applications that will come out for the iPad where you can just write on the screen, but I still think it’d be tough to keep up with it in a classroom.

2. Someone who already owns Apple products. I really don’t see the point in someone buying the iPad if they own an iPhone/iPod Touch and a Macbook or Mac desktop. You could justify it if you only owned a Mac desktop. If you bought one and you already owned all of this stuff, it would be more because you’re a Mac junkie, and you’re obsessed with owning their new gadget. This is a device that you can’t put in your pocket or purse. If you’re constantly toting around a backpack, large bag, or briefcase, then it would be convenient, but for someone like me who has a Macbook and an iPhone 4, I can’t justify buying one.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • Lissa

    I’m probably one of the few Macheads out there who’s not remotely interested in the iPad. Like your 2nd point, I already own an iMac and my husband and I both have Macbooks. Buying the iPad would be a waste on us. Do I still think it’s a cool gadget? Yes, I do, but I’m not shelling out money to buy one.

  • Karmella

    Thanks for the rundown – this is a lot clearer than many of the reviews I’ve read.

  • http://www.maketodaypayday.co.uk Kate

    Great breakdown and some good points. I am going to wait for the 2nd generation before I purchase mine.

    • Karmella

      I am trying to tell myself to do that – I am just not sure I can make myself wait for gen 2!

  • http://www.yourfinances101.com/blog David/Yourfinances101

    My first response would be “no”, I ‘d really rather win one from your gievaway!!!

    LOL

    Anyways, I see too many drawbacks with it, and I would certainly not buy one if I had an Ipod Touch or an Iphone.

    Seems to be the same thing, only a little bigger.

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    Same here. I wouldn’t buy one with my own money, because I can’t justify the $500 for this awesome device. So I hope I win one as well…because I do want one really bad! :) I absolutely love my iPhone 3GS and enlarging that experience to a 10″ screen would just be incredible. I posted a whole list of things that you can do better with an iPad than you can with other devices.

    If I don’t end up getting one, I’ll be waiting (impatiently) for generation 2.

  • gina

    My husband and I just had a discussion about this last week–he feels it is just a large version of the i-touch. I agree, the ability to use it for a presentation at work is VERY appealing and may help him see my side…

  • Em D.

    I don’t own any other Mac products but am interested in the ipad. Of course, I too would rather win than buy :) I’ll probably wait and see what the long term reviews are- there’s a lot of possible uses floating around out there and I want to see what pans out.

  • Winston

    There are so many features missing from this gadget that it is not worth it to buy the first generation. If I have the money, I would wait at least until third generation comes out. That’s when the features are more all-round.

    On a separate note, my schools right now has loaned five iPads to five different students for reviews. They want to see how useful the iPad can be for students.

  • Jeccica Simpson

    Thanks for this useful information, we the iPad starting out kinda of expensive, I am glad there is information about who it right for and what it can be used for.
    I am in the 1. catergory casual computer user as well for my kids. I hope to someday own one.

  • Justine

    Thanks for the great low down, I think you’re perfectly correct on everything but it’s still a cool gadget and my son (and I!) would love to have one, he’s addicted to apps and I don’t blame him, they are pretty cool :D

  • Pingback: Will You Buy An iPad?

  • Erin Murphy

    Now that the iPad has been out for a while and the number of apps has ramped up, my iPad purchase has finally paid off. The additional productivity I get from it every week is worth way more than I paid for it. Check out LifeTopix – it’s a universal app that allows me to manage my projects, travel, events, accounts and bill payments, health metrics, and pretty much everything else I want to track.

    • Erik Folgate

      Yes erin, the apps are definitely a huge benefit for the ipad. A lot of iPad apps can do so much more than iPhone apps and I think businesses and educational institutions are also seeing a big benefit to the iPad.

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